Sounders will be forced to shuffle lineup, again, vs. Real Salt Lake

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson and Mario Martinez all played significant minutes in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier, the lineup decisions are even more complicated.

Most of us are pleased as punch to see Seattle Sounders get called up to their respective national teams. We're generally even happier when they are entrusted with the responsibility of starting in important games.

Unfortunately, there's a downside as well, which we are probably going to be reminded of this weekend. The Sounders were always going to be a bit short-handed for Saturday's encounter with Real Salt Lake. DeAndre Yedlin is away with the United States U-20 team and Osvaldo Alonso seems a likely health scratch.

The hope had been that Brad Evans would simply slide into the right back position he had been so ably playing for the United States national team and that Eddie Johnson would re-assume his spot in the attack. After each played virtually the entire match, that's less of a given. Further complicating matters is that Mario Martinez also started, playing 69 mostly unimpressive minutes for Honduras.

That leaves the Sounders with some tough decisions to make.

The biggest is what to do at right back, which Dave went into much depth here. Rather than re-hash that part of the argument, I'll just direct you there. (I should also point out that I wrote this after reading C_Tobin's Fanshot that came out before much of this information was available.)

That still leaves the Sounders with some pretty big decisions to make all around the attack.

Here's how I think Sigi would line up if everyone was healthy and available (except Yedlin):

Gspurning
Gonzalez-Traore-Scott-Evans
Neagle-Alonso-Joseph-Rosales
Martins-Johnson

Let's start with the midfield, where I already said I thought Alonso was going to be out. We've already seen what a disaster the pairing of Shalrie Joseph and Servando Carrasco can be. As improved as Carrasco is, he's simply not capable of covering the extra ground that is required when Joseph is on the pitch. I'm a huge fan of Joseph's passing abilities, but without Alonso he's just too much of a liability. I did like what we saw from the Andy Rose-Carrasco pairing from last week, though, and would be perfectly comfortable deploying them on the road.

Based on some comments Sigi made, I'm also thinking that Eddie Johnson will be given a bit of rest and not be asked to start for the third time in 12 days. That would also kick the can a little on what to do with Lamar Neagle, allowing him to start up top with Obafemi Martins for a third straight game.

Mauro Rosales will start, but the question is who will be on the other side. As unimpressive as Martinez was against the United States, I get the feeling he'll get the nod against Real Salt Lake. This throws off Sigi's preferred formation of having a more box-to-box outside mid, but Martinez has looked OK filling that role. It's also worth pointing out that his loan is set to expire on June 30, meaning this will be the last time the Sounders can get in-game look at him before deciding what they'd like to do.

That brings us back to the defense. I'll just go ahead and assume Scott will get the start at right back and Jhon-Kennedy Hurtado will return to center back.

Here's how it would look:

Gspurning
Gonzalez-Traore-Hurtado-Scott
Martinez-Carrasco-Rose-Rosales
Neagle-Martins

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